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Wartime toffee


Toffee always reminds me of autumn, especially Halloween and Bonfire Night. Here’s two recipes from my Mam’s schooldays in the early 1950s, when they were barely out of rationing.

These are traditional recipes, pre-dating the war, but they’ve always been called that in our family (it doesn’t specify WHICH war).

Between the rust stains from the staples and the ink blots, you can just about make out recipes for toffee (with vinegar, strange but true) and cinder toffee, which hurts the roof of your mouth if you eat too much of it.

If you’re having trouble with your teeth, avoid these at all costs.


Toffee recipe
All blots and rust…
  • 4oz sugar
  • 1 tablespoon syrup
  • Small knob of margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Grease a tin.

Measure all ingredients into a pan. Place on a low heat and dissolve gently. Bring slowly to the boil.

Boil until a little of the mixture sets hard into a ball in a cup of cold water.

Pour into the tin and when warm, mark into squares, as it’s a devil to get out.


Toffee recipe
… this one’s no better

Grease a tin.

Put into a pan 2 level tablespoons of syrup and 2 rounded tablespoons of sugar.

Measure half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda on to a spoon, add it to the pan and dissolve slowly over a low heat.

Bring to boil and boil for 4 minutes (DO NOT STIR).

Remove from heat and sieve in quickly 1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Stir in. Pour into a greased tin and leave to set.